Often on such resources as a portal about beekeeping, you can stumble upon the complaints of beekeepers that their bees are sick. The lion's share of complaints is associated with such a disease as varroatosis. What is it and what caused? Interesting facts about the historical methods and ways of dealing with it, read further in the article.
What is varroatosis and how is it scary?
Varroa is a fairly common disease in honeybees, which is caused by the parasitic tick Varroa. Previously, only Indian bees were sick. But, approximately from the 60s, beekeepers around the world started talking about it. Although the bees do not die from the tick, but the damage it brings to the apiary is quite significant. It is expressed in sick and incapacitated individuals, who often have developmental defects.
So, sick bees may not have a wing or it has grown an irregular shape, it may not have one or several paws, etc. Such individuals cannot work for the good of the family, but the latter is weakening because of them.
You can notice the problem with the naked eye. If you catch a sick individual, then it will have small, brownish plaques, about 1.5-2 mm in diameter. These are sexually mature parasitizing female ticks.
The history of the invention of methods to combat the parasite
An interesting fact is that the search for a solution to the problem of varroatosis went at random and for quite a long time the disease was considered incurable. At the initial stage, plant and animal raw materials were used to eliminate the tick. The beekeepers laid various herbs and roots into the hive, pillows, used smoke, etc. A special smoker with a long spout was even invented. But nothing really helped.
Thanks to such random attempts, a number of raw materials were found which had the necessary acaricidal effect. It was thymol and a pair of oxalic and formic acids. It is these three chemicals that have become widely used against ticks. But it was required to constantly process insects. In addition, the pairs were harmful to the beekeeper himself, and in bees they caused defeat to the brood.
Thus, the less harmful crystalline oxalic acid was used. But today, chemical methods of struggle occupy the second position and are inferior to biological, the development of which took place in parallel. In the early 80s of the twentieth century, the heat treatment method was widely spread. Due to its laboriousness and insecurity for honey insects, the method was not widely recognized.
Then came the first pills and strips with which the bees were smoked - these are folbex and fenotizian. The next step was the appearance on the basis of amitraz drugs "Tactic" and "Metak". Then, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, various water solutions were used to treat the hive. These include: Bivaroool, Bipin, Bivar, Bipin-T Aqua-flo and so on. Also, processed plates began to be produced in parallel, which were attached to the frames.
The bees had to rub about them so that the drug began its action. The United States produced plastic plates Apistan, and Russia - wooden Apifit. But no method completely eliminated the tick. It later emerged that the parasite can develop resistance to a number of acaricidal drugs. Thus, it is recommended to alternate different drugs from year to year. To date, the problem of varroatosis, despite the abundance of means of struggle, has not been fully resolved.